Senate chief wants accrued interest on MPLT proceeds reserved for NMDs
Senate President Edith E. DeLeon Guerrero (D-Saipan) wants the CNMI Constitution amended to ensure that transferred accrued interest on the investment proceeds of the Marianas Public Land Trustee is reserved for the benefit of the Northern Marianas descent population.
Toward this end, DeLeon Guerrero introduced Senate Legislative Initiative 23-1 with the purpose of amending Article 11, Section 6 of the NMI Constitution.
Under the initiative, the trustees shall deposit in an NMDs Account—separate from MPLT funds and accounts—the remaining interest accrued on the trust proceeds except that the trustees may retain the amount necessary to meet reasonable expenses of administration.
The funds in the NMDs Account shall be used strictly for the benefit of NMDs through legislative appropriations.
DeLeon Guerrero stated in the legislation that public lands in the CNMI belong collectively to the people who are of Northern Marianas descent, usually referring to native Chamorros and Carolinians (otherwise known as the Refaluwasch).
She said MPLT shall make reasonable, careful, and prudent investments on the funds it receives from the Department of Public Lands.
The Senate president recognized that the transferred interest to the general revenues of the Commonwealth for appropriation by the Legislature as it sees fit.
A legislative initiative to propose amendment to the Constitution needs the affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives present and voting, before it will then be placed before voters for ratification.